Talks at Google | Sec. Foxx on #BeyondTraffic

Talks at Google | Sec. Foxx on #BeyondTraffic

Secy. Foxx with Eric Schmidt

Transportation Secretary Foxx held a town hall meeting, or a virtual fireside chat, with Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt yesterday to discuss the department’s 30-year plan to boost transportation infrastructure and offerings to America’s growing urban populations.

Here are a few highlights from watching the live stream video. At time of publication, a recording of that ‘Talks at Google’ episode was not yet available. We’ll update this post as soon as it is.

Highlights from Sec. Foxx’s Google Talk on #BeyondTraffic

  • DOT spends 20 percent of the Highway Trust Fund on public transportation – including both urban and rural areas.
  • DOT wants to work with industry to shape advanced technologies and innovatinos so that they can be introduced to the marketplace more seamlessly
  • Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) rules from the agency are estimated to take 3-4 years to create, which is much slower than the rate of technological development happening in the sectors currently changing the scope of the transportation landscape.
  • In order to maximize opportunity to advance, DOT will look at federal and state regulatory systems to make sure their processes are up-to-speed.
  • The federal government is not anti GOOGLE car; however, their number-one priority is always safety. As long as a self-driving, autonomous vehicle is deemed “safe” for the driver/passenger and others on the road, then DOT has no problem with that being a mode of transport for people.

Quotables from the Secretary

  • On Tech Deployment: “We’re bullish on technology – we’re here to say that the DOT wants to lean in and get automation deployed.”
  • On Tech Development: “As technology is being incubated, we need a seat at the table so we can help you shape those technologies so that they can gain faster approval in the marketplace.”
  • On Regulation: “If the regulatory system is too slow, or too antiquated, we’re going to lose opportunities to move forward.”
  • On Safety Innovation: “I see a lot of promise for automation to do a lot of things that we care deeply about. We’ve seen an 80 percent reduction in deaths in car accidents due in part to technology – from the seatbelt to lighting systems.”
  • On Drones: “Currently commercial use of unmanned aircraft is banned absent an exemption. The FAA has designed an exemption process that on a case-by-case basis reviews applications. We’ve allowed exemptions in the movie industry, for example. We’re also working simultaneously on an unmanned aircraft rule that will provide a lot more flexibility for the commercial use of these devices.”
  • On Uber and Lyft: “Those companies are introducing a disruptive source into the conventional car sharing model. There are still some issues that have to be addressed at the state and local levels with how they integrate with the traditional system. I’m interested in finding new ways to put people to work and grow the economy.”
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Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.